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Inspection shows Lake Hodges Dam is in need of repairs

An inspection of Lake Hodges Dam a couple of months ago found damage and the process of lowering the water level to make repairs has started.

SAN DIEGO — If you have been to Lake Hodges or driven by it this past week, you may have noticed it's getting lower.

An inspection of Lake Hodges Dam a couple of months ago found damage and the process of lowering the water level to make repairs has started. Arian Collins, a Supervising Public Information Officer for the City of San Diego, said the inspection was done by SCUBA diver, which found the damage under water.

"It was during one of these regular maintenance inspections they found they found areas of the Dam that needed repair. We're looking at lowering the water level another 18' and that will get us to the the area that needs to be repaired," said Collins.

Because the Hodges Dam is over 100 years old, these repairs are crucial to safety and maintenance.

"There are some fissures or areas that look like they need to be sealed up. If you don't correct the problem now it's only going to get worse," explained Collins.

With the lake dropping by at least 18' the city has made some hard choices.

"We'll have to close off boating and fishing, the dock will be exposed, the shoreline will recede so far it will be deep mud so people can't shore fish," Collins said.

As you would expect the repairs are going to take time.

"Our estimate of five months is worst case scenario at this point, there's always a possibility it could go on longer," Collins said.

Regarding the effects on wildlife, Collins said that the City of San Diego biologist expect the impact to be minimal because of the short time period. 

The water is being moved to other reservoirs in the system. But some might go down stream.

"It will be pumped to the Olivenhain reservoir and they will distributed the water to their customers," said Collins. "If we get to a point where we can't transfer, some will have to go in the stream."

Lake Hodges will not be completely closed and still will be open on foot.

"So anyone who wants to hike, walk, or bike they can still do that, it's just boating and fishing that won't be allowed," noted Collins.

When it comes to parking that will be closed as well. Lake Hodges is expected to close in the next two weeks. 

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